This November Many Voices Will Join Together To Encourage Canadians to
Take Action on Radon
October 26 November is national Radon Action Month in Canada. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. It is easy to measure the radon level in your home, workplace or school and easy to fix if you have a problem. Techniques to lower radon levels are effective and can save lives. Radon levels in most homes can be reduced by more than 90% for about the same cost as other common home repairs such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.
“Many Canadians will be hearing this message during Radon Action Month.” Said Roshini Kassie, with the New Brunswick Lung Association and coordinator of the Take Action on Radon network and awareness Campaign. “This year, we will be celebrating and promoting the many partnerships of the Take Action on Radon network. The strength of the network is the number and variety of stakeholders from all different sectors – NGOs, charities, health and public health, radon professionals, government, builders, academics, retailers – all standing and speaking together with one voice encouraging Canadians to take action on radon.”
Radon is a radioactive gas in the ground that you can’t see, smell or taste. It gets into homes and buildings undetected through cracks in the foundation or gaps around pipes. All structures in contact with the ground will have it; it is the level that is important.
Radon is present in almost every home in Canada and the only way to know if the radon level is high is to conduct a test. Canadians can purchase a simple and inexpensive do-it-yourself (DIY) test kit or they can hire a C-NRPP-certified radon professional to conduct the test for them. See www.C-NRPP.ca (find a professional) or www.takeactiononradon.ca/map to find a certified radon measurement professional.
Health Canada and many Public Health Departments recommend Long Term (LT) testing for a minimum of three months (91-365 days) starting in the fall, when windows and doors typically remain closed. The Canadian Radon Guideline is 200 Becquerels/cubic metre but the level should be as low as practical. There is no safe level! While it is strongly recommended that Canadians fix their home if their level of radon is at or over the Guideline, there is no completely safe level of radon and home owners are encouraged to reduce radon levels as low as possible. Canadians should contact a certified radon mitigation professional to determine the best and most cost effective radon reduction solution. You can find where to purchase radon test kits and where to find certified radon professionals (measurement and mitigation) at www.takeactiononradon.ca/map . or www.C-NRPP.ca (Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program).
- Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
- Health Canada estimates that over 3000 (16%) of lung cancer deaths among Canadians are attributable to indoor radon exposure. Smokers exposed to radon are at significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer.
- The higher the radon level and the longer people are exposed to radon, the higher the risk; children are particularly vulnerable.
- 7% of Canadians, on average, are living in homes with radon levels above the current radon guideline of 200 Bq/m3. In some areas, the figure is closer to 25%.
Further information on Radon can be found on various websites including those of Health Canada, at www.takeactiononradon.ca, and www.radondetectionlondon.ca
J.Ainsley Marshall, B.Sc., M.Sc., B.Ed., OH&S (Certif.)
C-NRPP-Certified Radon Measurement Professional and Analyst
o/a JAM (2005) Enterprises
39 Concord Crescent
London, ON N6G 3H4
Roshini Kassie (national)
Coordinator, Take Action on Radon
New Brunswick Lung Association
(506) 455-8961 Ext 110